Judicial politics : election petitions and electoral fraud in UgandaJudicial politics : election petitions and electoral fraud in Uganda
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Development processes, actors and policies
Journal of eastern African studies. - Abingdon, 2007, currens
7(2013):3, p. 492-508
University of Antwerp
This paper examines judicial politics in Uganda after the 2011 elections, when a number of election petitions were filed against incumbent parliamentarians alleging electoral fraud and malpractice. The paper argues that Uganda has the structures and procedures in place to enable election petitions to allow for redress when election malpractice has occurred, but this is more likely to occur in the High Court than the Supreme Court. By briefly examining the 2001 and 2006 presidential and parliamentary election petitions, the paper shows that the Supreme Court, which hears presidential election petitions, acknowledged voting irregularities, yet was unwilling to rule against the president. In parliamentary election petitions held before the High Court during the same period, judges were not immune to annulling the election results. Following the 2011 elections, no presidential election petitions were made, but over 100 parliamentary election petitions were filed. Many of the High Court judgements on the 2011 election petitions gave a degree of optimism that due process is being followed since a number of petitions were upheld and MPs removed from their seats. These included some high-profile politicians. However, as the Court of Appeal begins to overturn some of these High Court decisions, perhaps this optimism will be short-lived.